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(c) 2009 Christiana Lambert

(c) 2009 Christiana Lambert

Yoga is funny—there you are being all mindful—or at bare minimum focusing on how long you have been in the moment of one particular pose—when something else pops into your mind. Maybe something about moving a certain part of your body brings that thought to surface or maybe it’s just another mystery of how your own mind works.

At the end of Wednesday’s class, I thought I was relaxing into savasana when somehow my mind turned to who I was when I was growing up. Too many heart-chakra opening poses so soon after my recent high school reunion trip must have jogged my brain into thoughts of, well, jogging/running.

And just like that I was mad at running.

Oh, Running, I thought you were The One. My first True Love. I was devoted to you—monogamous. Sure, when I met you, I did so with my teammates at my side. Unlike some of those girls, I never shirked on workouts or pretended I didn’t see the coach’s signal to start. You should have loved them more—with their longer legs and easy breathing—but they would not commit to you as I did.

And when that school year ended, I began taking those baby steps that lead toward what eventually became an obsession. We began to meet almost daily. Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night—nor unrelenting winds that ranged from 95-degree furnace blasts to sub-zero chills that froze my eyelashes together—kept me from my appointments with you.

I wanted more from you—I dreamed of glory but what I got was quiet time and peace in the moment and a chance to hear the thoughts in my own head. As the miles passed beneath my feet, I learned to love the process and how not to focus only on results.

But you turned out to be a fickle lover. You broke my heart with a kind of pain I didn’t expect. I knew the pain of working hard and strengthening my body. I knew the pain of keeping moving through all sorts of weather or feeling as if my lungs could not catch air—which was ironically the result of an undetected medical condition that would not be discovered until 13 ½ years after we started together. What I didn’t know was that though my body was designed to keep up with you, it wasn’t necessarily designed well to do so for as many miles as I did without adjustments to how I moved. That pain didn’t exactly make me stop, but it made me understand I couldn’t just all out follow you without possible repercussions. What I did for love was not enough—I had to protect myself by not trusting you with abandon as I first had.

We’ve had that kind of on-again, off-again relationship that friends will warn you about. I don’t expect so much from you anymore. I set boundaries for myself and—mostly—live with them. Though I still have the speed to try to catch you, I’m not ready to push myself just to have another piece of me break again. I see you more as an old friend these days than as the focus of my passion. And that’s mostly OK. That we can still meet is almost good enough—except for during those rare moments when my heart remembers that I thought we could have so much more together.

Maybe if I keep working, one pose at a time, I’ll find the peace that brings me to accept that however many miles you and I get to share, those miles belong to a good-sized portion of the best days of my life—past, present, and future. May all that practice help me to open up to releasing what was in order to make space for whatever is yet to come.

(c) 2015 Trina Lambert

(c) 2015 Trina Lambert

Took the long way home last weekend. I, for one, think of the place where I grew to adulthood as my hometown and that’s exactly where I was headed—for a 35th year high school reunion.

But I think memories from our early childhood days really are our homes—especially those from the years from which only fuzzy images and other sensory traces remain. The smells of burning leaves, the crunch of the snow under our boots, the vivid colors from tulips that came out in time for last day teacher thank-you gifts, the flashes of electricity that danced across the walls on hot summer evenings, and all the other tactile encounters, pictures, smells, sounds, and tastes that were first part of informing us what the world was.

Whenever I leave behind the city and its suburbs (and now exurbs) and travel east toward what used to be home, I feel an almost primeval relief as the sky opens up. On the way to that hometown get-together, I met with friends to visit another friend at her ranch. As we drove those roads less traveled, that feeling of relief increased as I journeyed deeper into memories I cannot even access but the sensations were oh-so-familiar.

When you grow up in the middle of nowhere, you spend a lot of time driving—either to another spot in the middle of nowhere or to somewhere where you can buy goods you can’t buy at home or where you can do activities not available where you live. Unless weather kept us from the roads, my family and I were often busy going from here to there, more often than not riding roads that were not graded but instead followed the natural contours, my stomach dropping as we swooped from each hilltop to valley and back again.

I got to experience that feeling again once my friend turned her minivan (with us three now city-slickers) onto the one-lane road that stretched north across now-flat, now-rolling terrain. As the car aimed to climb the first hill, I realized the images of hills in my dreams are not some made-up generic picture, but a conglomeration of the hills my family used to drive in my earliest years. The graded and tamed hills of town and city have obscured what I first knew.

(c) 2015 Trina Lambert

(c) 2015 Trina Lambert

This is what I knew: a land of sky and grass and herds of horses and cattle. A space where hawks sat on fence posts while flocks of birds took to flight and various other types of wildlife moved along the periphery of the bubble of our car. I may have grown up a town girl but in a town nestled in the country and arranged around agriculture, not industry.

Childhood as I knew it ended the summer I turned ten when we moved from what I had considered small town paradise to a close-by but larger town. I could no longer ride my bike to the pool or roam the countryside alone for hours or walk either downtown or to the shopping mall where my father now worked. The nearly treeless lawns in our newer neighborhood made me ache for the established leafy maple trees that framed the early 20th century house I had called home for most of my memories. The paved roads stretched flat in every direction—there were no hills to make me wonder if my bike and I could reach the top or gravel roads to ride on school buses while going home to stay with friends who lived in the country. Many of my toys never made it out of the moving boxes. That new town became my hometown at an age when the magic of childhood was waning.

For me—no matter that I experienced all four seasons—childhood in my early town will always be the green, green days of summer when the hours stretched with nothing better to do but splash in the cool wetness provided by the hose or explore the almost cold creek (“crick”) or sit behind our Kool-Aid stand (for which customers??!!) with its sugary sweet smells or pedal that banana-seat Schwinn out onto the not often stationary gravel.

And yet it didn’t have to be summer for me to read—which I did with a passion. Town kid that I was, I devoured every horse book—fiction and nonfiction—I could find in the little local library or that I could con my mom into ordering from the colorful newsprint paperback book orders the teacher dropped onto my desk every month or so. Sure I read of racing horses and London town horses but I preferred tales of horses that roamed in hills that looked more similar to those around my town.

(c) 2015 Trina Lambert

(c) 2015 Trina Lambert

So it came to pass that this small reunion that I got to experience was much more than a chance to talk and laugh and renew friendships with people whom I have missed for too long. No, “meanwhile back at the ranch,” as we made certain to say frequently, I had a reunion with the child I was—as well as the one I wished I was.

Not only has this summer been green at a level not too often duplicated—and the lands that sit on a sweet spot over the massive Ogallala Aquifer are especially green this year—but I also got to return to hills similar to those in my dreams and to achieve proximity to horses in a manner that had only happened in my dreams.

Urban woman I still am and still want to remain, but, please—no apologies for the early morning sun that streamed into the windows of the room where I lay sleeping. I had a room with a view—of fields gilded with dawn—and of the country girl who is also very much a part of me—even after all these years.

(c) 2015 Trina Lambert

(c) 2015 Trina Lambert

Yesterday I wrote about how my mind has seemed rather blank—that may be true, but my dreams are never lacking for details. Though I’m not sure the specifics matter as to what the dreams mean, I wonder if those detailed dreams keep me tired during my waking hours and get in the way of how well I can turn my waking dreams into reality.

Example of a typical Trina dream:

My yoga teacher is teaching a computer-related course at the Eagles’ club where we have our yoga classes, so instead of sitting on our mats, we are sitting at tables. Of course I bring my laptop, but for some reason my husband decides that he needs to repair my computer right there at the start of class. He has everything out of the machine on both sides—yes, do you know there are soft materials located between the monitor and the outer shell, just as there is inside the section where the motherboard should be. I finally point out to him that maybe this isn’t the right time for working on my computer since I am supposed to be using it. Then I begin trying to stuff the material back in both sides so I can snap everything back together—but, of course it won’t fit. Does this bug my husband? No, is conversing back and forth with my choir director, both of them speaking in English but with a Hogan’s Heroes’ type German accent. And then the man clearly asks my husband, “So do you just program in C or C++ too?”

You can probably see why I woke up at that point. All I wanted to do was learn the lessons being taught, but that was not going to happen with my computer torn apart.

In most dreams I not only see it, hear it, touch it, or feel it, but I can also smell it—whatever it is. The houses I remember have more details than what I could tell you about my own house—I could probably draw out many a floor plan of those dream houses and record the colors in those fictional spaces. I could tell you whether the water body I’m in is a lake, river, or stream and just how cold or warm it feels. The conversations don’t necessarily make sense but the word choice stands out—what do programming languages have to do with fixing the hardware in my laptop anyway?

It’s as if I’ve been gathering details—some trivial and some not—for years and all that data and those pieces of information are stuck in random sections of my brain’s hard drive. Maybe I’m the one who needs to defrag and clean up my disc. Perhaps all this unrelated junk is just slowing down my processing time and keeping my memory from storing what is important.

If we are such stuff as dreams are made on, then I’d rather my dreams not be quite so stuffed with useless details—unless, of course, I can figure out how to write a novel from them before my life is rounded with that final sleep.

I’m so in each moment these days that it feels a little bit unnerving. All those thoughts that usually overrun my head have gone a bit silent. Even with all the divisive news of recent weeks, I have my strong opinions but not so much that I have big words I can follow down the rabbit holes. Don’t know whether to try to stir up my thoughts on my own or to take this fallow period as a time of rest and underground growth.

(c) 2015 Trina Lambert

(c) 2015 Trina Lambert

So my moments are often filled with activities such as dog walks—lots of dog walks since our daughter got her puppy about five weeks ago. Of course, if we’re available when she is walking her puppy, we ought to walk our own dogs, right? Walk we do—this street and that street—serpentine if you will to keep that puppy from thinking he’s in charge and knows where we are going. I see raindrops on blooms, flowers gone bold in this oddly wet growing season, new paint colors on houses, as well as nighttime light from porches and the bluish glow coming from large screens inside.

What is different about those walks from when we walked our dogs before is that we no longer walk in partial anonymity. The puppy draws attention to our little group—despite having lived in our neighborhood for decades, we are meeting people old and new as never before. Perhaps the constant human connection and conversations ground me more into the here and now than previously when I so often could escape into my head?

Beyond walking dogs, most days we also visit my husband’s mother as she rehabilitates from a fracture that led to a partial hip replacement. The puppy comes, too—with or without our daughter—since he is one of the few bright spots in the sameness of my mother-in-law’s days where she is a little too in the moment. The little superstar works her into thinking about what’s good about being able to sit still with a puppy at your side. And on his way in and out of the residence, he brings smiles to staff, other residents, and visitors alike. Although he is an amateur at therapy, he is an expert at causing people to pause.

(c) 2015 Trina Lambert

(c) 2015 Trina Lambert

Life is change—whether it’s a daughter finishing college and trying to find her way or a long-lived person encountering a body that no longer does as she bids or a society debating whether or not to keep traditions. Maybe at times of great change what we most need is a pause.

Although my mind is not much used to pausing, perhaps this little break is just what it needs to figure out what comes next. What better than a puppy (and its paws) to make play from a pause button?

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